Dudes: Have you been putting off procuring a gift for your lady this Valentine's Day? Or, GASP, were you planning on just avoiding the whole deal like the dead-inside, listless Lone Wolf she fell in love with in the first place? Well, not only are you thwarting the happiness your GF would have felt upon cracking into that box of Whitman's, you may be thwarting your own as well.
Because, get this: It has been proven by science that giving a gift to your partner makes YOU happier. Pay it forward, am I right?
Neurologist Dr. Paul Zak -- that dude who taught us all about being "crazy in love" -- recently conducted a study in Denmark in which he teamed up with Danish chocolate producer Anthon Berg to find out what happens when one lover gives the other a box of chocolate.
Thirty-two couples between the ages of 20 and 75 participated in the study, the men separated from their partners to have their blood drawn at the start. The men were then asked to write down why they love their partners, after which they gave their lovers a box of chocolate and told them why they loved them face-to-face. Blood samples were taken again after the sweet handoff.
So why all the blood in-between (happy) tears? Well, Zak tested each man's blood in order to determine oxytocin levels before and after the chocolate exchange. Oxytocin is known as the "love hormone," as it is linked to feelings of happiness and love. The more oxytocin in the body, the more love one feels.
After giving their ladies sweets, the men, on average, experienced a 27.5% increase in oxytocin -- a spike Zak said is equivalent to what happens to a woman on her wedding day. I would make a joke here about chocolate making everything better -- if that didn't make me sound like that mug on your guidance counselor's overly cluttered desk.
“Oxytocin makes us feel more connected to other people because the hormone is released when one's own generosity is reciprocated, and when other people's needs are more important than our own,” Zak said. "It is good for us to give presents, and it benefits the man. So maybe now we can forget about men being from the Stone Age where feelings are concerned.”
I've also heard that giving chocolates to random MTV reporters has the same effect. Just saying.